Destination: Kioni, Ithaca

Kioni, Ithaca – Perhaps the most stunning harbour in the Ionian


About Kioni, Ithaca – This amphitheatrical fishing village is one of the most popular in the Ionian and you will see why. If approaching Kioni from the north or the east you’ll spot the old windmills on the southern headland at the entrance to the bay. Beautiful sophisticated buildings line the waters edge, backed by greenery and olive groves basking in the sunshine. Small traditional ‘kaikis’ (low lying fishing boats with a high bow) dot the small harbour wall and sailing yachts and other boats either take the remaining spaces on the town quay or longline against the cliffs.

Longitude & Latitude – 38°26′.92N 20°41′.49E

How to moor – Popular harbours sometimes require some more exciting mooring techniques, particularly here in Kioni when the afternoon gusts come through.

  1. Stern-to on the main quay if there is a space. The depth in the middle of the bay can drop off past 15m so watch your depth gauge carefully before dropping. Take care not to cross your neighbouring anchors and have lines ready to take ashore. Watch out for rocks and other debris in the water as you approach the harbour wall.
  2. Longlined against the cliffs. This area does get busy with longlined yachts and flotillas so choose your space wisely. Have one of your crew (or two if you can spare them) go ashore in the dinghy and sort out the longlines. Have someone ready with the anchor, take a nice long run up (taking into account any crosswind and other anchors) and drop when appropriate – you’ll need to look at the depth and the distance to the space you are aiming for. Meet your crew in the dinghy with the longlines and secure – the quicker the better if there is a crosswind, and remember, the windward line first! Also keep your eye on other boats coming in next to you or near you – not everyone knows what they are doing.
  3. Freeswing on anchor off the ‘cemetery beach’ (port side as you enter the bay – between the windmills and the harbour). An easier option if you don’t mind being further out of the harbour

When to go – Kioni is safe in the prevailing NW conditions but note that the afternoon does bring some strong NW gusts with it which makes mooring either stern to on the quay, or longlined to the cliffs challenging with a crosswind. It’s advisable to go early, get moored up without battling with the wind, and then relax while you watch other boats coming in later! Otherwise be prepared for a windy park. Prepare yourselves and the boat early. Have longlines ready, the anchor ready, fenders ready and most importantly crew ready!

When to avoid – Certainly do not consider Kioni, Ithaca in Easterly or Southerly winds. The swell can get really big, and the holding is not good enough – the bottom is weedy and the depth most boats drop their anchors is over 10m.

Facilities ashore – Several tavernas to choose from, a couple of minimarkets and bakeries and some really cute cafés and bars. The famous Jewelry shop Tehnima is a hit with the ladies! There’s a water bowser around if you need to top up your tanks, you’ll need to phone them if they aren’t there.

Restaurants – There are a few tavernas on the seafront overlooking the harbour – Mills, Calypso & Lizzy’s. En Plo Roof Bar is absolutely perfect for enjoying a pre dinner drink overlooking the bay…a great place to spectate if yachts are still arriving… Spavento is the small cocktail bar on the backstreet by the minimarket, playing great music!

Somewhere to swim? Plenty of little coves to choose from! Swim off the main beach in the harbour, but watch out for boats moving around. Walk to the mole sticking out at the end of the harbour by Lizzy’s and over the rocks there is another beach. Alternatively, walk southwards towards where the yachts longline, go down the steps to the little platform and beach for a nice swim there. If you are longlined here then you have your own swimming spot!

Anything else to do? There’s a nice walk round to the windmills past the beach on the south side of the bay. There are plenty of other walks all over Ithaca if you are staying for a couple of days they are definitely worth checking out. A lot of time and effort has been spent by the locals in clearing decent footpaths to link small villages and ancient ruins together. Ithaca is apparently the home of Homer’s Odysseus after all, so there are plenty of sites to explore.

I’d highly suggest buying Rod Heikell’s Ionian Pilot Guide for detailed information on the harbours & bays of the Ionian.

On the chart

Kioni Ithaca Chart


Other Destinations to read about:

Kastos Island

Fiscardo Kefalonia

Vathi Meganisi

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